Friday, March 30, 2012

Life & Style: Organizational Series, Part 5

We are targeting specific areas of our home for organization all through the month of March, and we'll be sharing it all with you! We have before and after pictures, tips, horror stories and success stories. You can read Part 1 in this series here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here and Part 4 here.

While our office area last week was one of our most dreaded areas of the house, the pantry probably is the no. 1 most dreaded area in the house. The pantry is used daily, it's easy to become disorganized and we honestly weren't sure if there could be any method to the madness.

Here's our before pictures:

Horror: Do I even need to say anything? I think the pictures speak for themselves, don't you? The worst part was the floor - it was just covered in stuff! Argh.

Tip!: When organizing a space that holds a lot of items, it worked best for us to take everything out of the space first. Then, we could vacuum and/or dust as needed, then work out a game plan as to where everything would be put. Feel free to bust out a tape measure, paper, pencil - whatever tools you need to get the job done!

We took everything out first, cleaned up the floor, then wrote down categories of what we had. We talked about what we wanted to see happen within the pantry. For instance, I wanted an area that had all of our snack foods so when Jason or I want a snack, all the non-perishable snack foods are in one spot in the pantry. Jason didn't have many requests other than all the items would have a real space to go, which made the process pretty easy.

Every item was inspected for quality - was it expired? If yes, were we willing to eat it anyway? We looked at each item and considered what it actually was - does Preston's cat food really belong in the pantry? How about his litter? What about the canning pot? Items that didn't truly belong in the pantry were moved to a better spot (in most cases - the office closet which has lots of room since we organized it).

We had budgeted about one and a half hours to get the pantry organized, and thankfully, it only took one hour (whew!). Thanks to Jason's mad stacking skills, our pantry is looking good!

Tip!: It can be daunting to take on an organizing task just based on time aspect. We make hour-by-hour schedules for most every day of the week (also referred to by some as a time budget). By planning out our days in advance, it was easy to find a day that Jason and I could work together on the pantry. Without planning in advance, working together on the same project at the same time without interruption is not likely to happen on its own. Planning in advance takes minimal effort and has rewarding results!

Here's our after pictures!

Top shelf, from left to right: paper products, overstock and not-used-often cleaning supplies
Second shelf, from left to right: breakfast products, storage products (in the bowls), misc. items, sauces, noodles
Top shelf, from left to right: soup items, snack area, oils, baking products
Second shelf, from left to right: canned veggies, canned beans, canned fruits, baking products, canned jams
Floor: Ah, such a beautiful sight compared to the before picture! We kept bigger items on the floor, such as our canning pot, big package of flour and sugar, big bag of dried beans, etc.
Success?: The pantry is lovely now - it's so easy to go in and grab whatever we need for each meal. The only problem, and probably anyone with a pantry has this problem (or at least that's what we're telling ourselves!), is that pantries need to be organized every month or so to be sure they don't end up like ours did in the before pictures. So we're making it a goal to organize the pantry each month.

We didn't always enjoy having to actually organize areas of our home, but we love the results! We hope this series encouraged you to tackle areas of your home that may be in disarray and gave you some tips along the way.

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